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01/10/2014

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Move over Higgs

By Gina Maffey
 
A new particle, similar to the Higgs Boson, could provide a clue to one of the greatest mysteries of the Universe.
 
Dr Charles Wang from the University of Aberdeen believes that a new scalar particle is behind the intense supernova explosions that occur when a star implodes. He presented his work to the British Science Association on Tuesday.
 
Supernova explosions are the most powerful forces in the universe, second only to the Big Bang.
 
Once frequent, the energy produced in these explosions is responsible for combining particles to produce all the recognisable elements on earth, providing all the known building blocks of life on earth. 
 
There are still many gaps in our understanding of physics and one of the major blanks is how the implosion of a star subsequently produces an intense explosion.
 
It is known that as elements are created at the centre of a star, a huge amount of energy is released.  However, it is believed that the conversion of known elements would never produce enough energy to result in an explosion.
 
Dr Wang’s theory states that “a scalar particle – one of the most elementary types of particles in the universe and similar to the Higgs Boson – is at work within these stars and responsible for the additional energy which causes the explosion to take place.”
 
The scalar particle would effectively enable the high transfer of energy during a supernova, allowing shockwaves from the implosion of a star to become re-energised and cause an explosion.
 
A new collaboration between Dr Wang and CERN could provide the equipment to make this theory a reality and demonstrate the existence of the ‘Wang particle’ – or as Dr Wang himself refers to it the ‘scalar gravitational particle’. It is hoped that using the ISOLDE facility at CERN it may be possible assimilate a nuclear reaction that would determine the process of a starburst.
 
If demonstrated, the existence of the ‘Wang particle’, like the Higgs Boson, would hold major implications for physics, shedding new light on the theory of everything and affecting our understanding of how different physical phenomena interact.

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